The Dark Knight Rises

Year: 2012
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, and David S. Goyer

Like many people I have been a huge fan of this franchise over the years.  I have spent over three years waiting patiently for this movie and had every certainty that it would be awesome.  The news that broke with the release of this film was tragic.  It was hard to sit down in the theater today without thinking about what had happened to the innocent people in Aurora.  To make matters even worse there is hardly anything this film will ever be able to do to distance itself from that tragedy.  It will be forever remembered as the movie that people were watching when that mad man decided to do something so awful.  It’s unfortunate that a second Batman movie has come with such darkness looming over it.  No matter how great this franchise has been I fear it will always be shrouded with sadness and disaster.  We did our best not to think about the news when sitting down to watch the movie, but it wasn’t easy.

In all the time I spent following this movie through production I never had any doubt that it would be awesome.  I have absolute faith in Christopher Nolan after seeing his first two installments.  I also thought the cast is too great to disappoint. Bale makes a great Batman and guys like Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Gary Oldman can only make a movie better.  I also liked all the new characters made up of several actors from Inception and Anne Hathaway. I watched all the trailers as they were released and they served to build my anticipation even more.  It looked just as good as the others and seemed to offer more adrenaline and excitement as well.  However I have to admit that after sitting through the TWO HOURS AND FORTY TWO MINUTES I left feeling more disappointed than anything else.

I think this movie was far too long, and there was not enough action, or Batman for that matter.  Thinking back over it on the way home I don’t even know that I would even say this movie was about Batman at all.  I hate that he was so Howard Hughes like in the beginning. I think it is ridiculous that he goes from needing a cane to walk around to suddenly suiting back up as Batman.  I won’t go too far in this discussion because I don’t want to share spoilers.  I am not out to discourage others from seeing the movie I am just in straight up SHOCK right now. I am in shock at the fact that I find myself so disappointed, I really believed it would be otherwise.  There is just not enough of Batman in this one, he has no new gadgets to work with aside from “The Bat” and we do not see enough of the rebuilt Batcave.  Batman is almost like a side character in this one jumping into a larger story about Gotham as a city.

I thought Tom Hardy was great as Bane but I do not think Bane was really great.  I think he could have been great but we don’t really get to know him well enough.  What are his actual motives anyway? I understand the why in the end but it doesn’t seem good enough to me.  I think Anne Hathaway was terrific as Catwoman too but like Bane I think she could have been better. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman both saw smaller roles and I don’t think either shined as they have before.  Caine more so than Freeman. I love Michael Caine, but he is usually the comic relief in this franchise and here I only saw him as a bleating drama queen.  These great characters were pushed to the background to an extent in favor of the newbies Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard. I think this was a mistake but I do think Gordon-Levitt was great.  He continues to rise as an actor and he stole the screen for most of this movie.

If the franchise does not intend to make a fourth installment then much of the story in this movie seems unnecessary.  I have read time and time again that this is the last film of this franchise. Both Nolan and Bale have both said they were done no matter how much money is on the table and I believe it coming from them. So why did they waste so much time in this story the way they do?  I know without doubt we will see more Batman movies in the future but I don’t see much reason to have hope for them at the moment.  The studio will look to make more money and the film will suffer for that reason alone. They will “reboot” it again and we will see a whole new cast the next time around.  That is what will most likely happen but at the end of the day anything is possible.

I think if you are a Batman fan you should go see this movie, and I sincerely hope you enjoy it more than I did.  I am shocked and at a loss of words over how disappointed I am. The word flabbergasted comes to mind.  The more I think about it the more disappointed I am.  I think the movie lacked the intensity of the first two films, and the clever writing that tied everything together so smoothly.  I think that we would have seen a much more incredible film had Heath Ledger never died because I think the story obviously would have continued with the Joker.  We will never know though, and this will be what we always have.  If you are reading this and disagree with me please reply with an argument.  I might need to be talked into seeing this one again, and that too is so disappointing.

I would like to mention as well, The Avengers was a better movie and I think it is now without doubt the best movie this summer had to offer.  Click on the title to read our review of that movie, and if you haven’t seen it there might still be time to catch it in the theaters.

UPDATE #1

This movie was easier to stomach a second time around when my expectations weren’t so high.  I still stand by everything I said above but I can see now that it is not as awful as I implied the first time.  I think my biggest problem is that I just didn’t like the story in general and expected more.  Bruce Wayne is just so weak in this movie.  I think a movie that directly followed its predecessor involving a Batman in his prime fighting some new villain as well as cops would have been much more exciting.

I have read that there is a possibility of Joseph Gordon-Levitt taking on the role of Batman and continuing the franchise.  I really like this idea although Gordon-Levitt really doesn’t have the stature to don the cape and cowl. I think it would be a much better plan than him simply being a Batman-less Robin despite his size.  I do not know what Warner Brothers is doing as far as their Justice League movie goes but I think they have to find a way to connect everything in order to compete with what Marvel did with The Avengers.  Using Gordon-Levitt as Batman would be a good way to get that done.

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